When Rosebud was a baby, she swooned for biker dudes. Sweet little old ladies would coo and smile at her trying to evoke a response. Often, they would walk away disappointed. But, if we even so much as walked by a biker dude, Rosebud’s face would light up like the man was Santa Claus himself. Long ponytails topped with bandanas elicited waves and smiles. Handlebar mustaches earned applause. The sweet soft voices of elderly women? Nada.
As I write this, I sit in the lobby of the Fine Arts building on a Minnesota campus while my oldest daughter sits in on a college class. I sit here in this gorgeous building wondering how I got here and where I go from here. Rosebud will be my daughter forever but will be my child, in the literal sense if the word, for not much longer. The path I have traveled over the last 17.5 years is lined with every piece of her. Leading her (and her brother and sister) down that path, holding her small hand in mine, guiding her, walking beside her, has been, and will no doubt remain, the greatest joy of my life.
As she prepares to enter the next stage of her life, I, too, prepare to enter the next stage of mine. In three short years, I will be taking a similar road trip with her brother, and in three more, with my youngest child. As I sit here now, in this gorgeous building, I look back. I look forward.
And the view is breathtaking.
I am filled with the sadness of endings and the thrill of beginnings. I am mostly filled with gratitude that I have born witness to all of it. I watched those little chubby hands gripping her first paintbrush grow into the the elegant hands of a woman, often still holding a paintbrush. Some things are not meant to change.
We have been on this college road trip for several days now. There have been multiple occasions, while walking from here to there, that I have stuck out my arm at intersections to block her from traffic. She informed me that she had been crossing streets quite successfully for some time now and my efforts to save her from walking into traffic were no longer necessary.
Maybe not for her.
I am quite certain that I will be sticking my traffic arm out in front of her when she is forty. Some things are not meant to change.
We stood in line to buy snacks at a truck stop behind an older man wearing a Harley shirt under a leather vest. He had long gray hair, a helmet tucked under his arm, and a handlebar mustache.
“I really like that biker dude,” she said with a smile.
Yes. Yes, I know.
Some things are not meant to change.